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Wednesday, 30 November 1938

Mr SCHOLFIELD (Wannon) (4:31 AM) - I find myself in agreement with the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr. Scully) in this matter. When speaking on the second reading of this hill I mentioned the fact that I did not agree with the proposed allocation of this money. As has been mentioned, it is to be raised in a certain way and applied for a certain purpose, but in spite of what the Minister for Commerce (Sir Earle Page) has said I cannot see that the allocation of £500,000 a year for something distinct from a home-consumption price can make no difference to the amount that will be given to the growers. The right honorable gentleman has said that a great many farmers in the marginal areas will go out of production, and also that he would be willing to consider the deletion of this provision in five years' time. I suggest to him that in about that time many of those engaged in marginal areas will have already gone off their holdings. I do not see how that can have any bearing on this matter, and therefore I must support the amendment moved by the honorable member for

Gwydir. The Minister for Commerce, however, mentioned something which might have some influence with me; but it will not unless he can state more definitely that the States would be very seriously inconvenienced by the deletion of this clause.

Sir Earle Page - The various States, especially South Australia, Western Australia, and even Queensland, have made contributions to Victoria because of its drought condition.

Mr SCHOLFIELD - This year I am not prepared to touch the £500,000, but I should like to see this provision limited to, say, five years, unless some definite assurance is given that it will upset the whole basis of the scheme.

Mr Nock - Why not make the period this year and the next four years?

Mr SCHOLFIELD - I adhere to my suggestion that it be limited to five years, although it seems to me that during each of those five years £500,000 less will be paid to the wheat-growers under the home-consumption price plan.

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